4-H Agent Longevity and Youth Participation and Perception: A Case Study


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Virginia Tech


This study examined the influence of the 4-H agent and how the length of time an agent is employed in a community affects the perception of the quality and visibility of the 4-H program based on the theory of Positive Youth Development. The objective of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between the length of time an agent has been employed in a county and what effect, if any, it has on the perceptions of the youth ages 14-19 that are enrolled in the 4-H program. A total of 138 youth participated in the survey from 21 different counties in Virginia. The study found the positive influence of the 4-H agent in a county and the 4-H program and that these employees are an important part of a youth’s 4-H career. Further research is needed to determine the time at which agents begin to make significant impact on the youth enrolled in their county programs. Programmatic recommendations include conducting a more in depth needs assessment including agents in the 8-11 year employment range and outside stakeholders.